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2 Oct, 2007 20:09

Aleksy II speaks on morals and Kosovo at PACE session

Patriarch Aleksy II of Moscow and All Russia has addressed the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg. The leader of the Russian Orthodox Church called for the revival of Christian moral principles in Europe and touched upon the Kos

Orthodox Christian morals and the Kosovo issue caused a stir at the Council of Europe, as the Russian Patriarch Aleksy II and the Serbian PM Vojislav Kostunica gave their points of view at the Parliamentary Assembly session.

The Patriarch emphasised that European institutions like the Council of Europe were founded on Christian values but now they are being influenced by moral relativism and consumer culture.

“Whenever moral norms are trespassed, there is a danger of undermining the whole European world view. This may lead European nations to lose their own spiritual and cultural identity. Many problems that exist in the human society today cannot be solved without being subject to some moral evaluation – for example in Russia and many other countries we see that there is a growing gap between the rich and the poor and any idea of social justice is being blurred,” Patriarch Aleksy II said.

Some considered some of the Patriarch’s views too hardline, especially his description of homosexuality as an illness.

“I asked a question about the attitude towards homosexuals and lesbians. And it is certainly the established position of the Council of Europe that one should be tolerant towards relationships between people of the same sex. And it doesn’t mean that you bless it, or approve it, or encourage it, but it is a reality and you should be tolerant,” believes Russell Johnston, a member of the British Parliament.

The Patriarch was also very vocal about Kosovo which he calls Serbian holy land and backed up the Serbian Prime Minister who said a democratic, not a unilateral solution, should be found.

“There have been only two direct talks between Belgrade and Pristina. And the dialogue on Kosovo has been lasting for two years which means one direct talks per year. It is not enough to resolve this problem,” Vojislav Kostunica claimed.

But critics said that Serbia is refusing to listen to the province’s ethnic Albanian majority which wants independence.